Thursday, August 02, 2007

La Marche Funèbre d'une Marionette

Rain is splattering on the windowsills. I sit in the twilight grey of late evening in my apartment, trying in vain to write. Radio Classique is my companion tonight.

New strains of music begin, a strangely familiar melody. Instantly it summons the image of that dark silhouette, the unmistakable profile and paunch sliding into place. I am transported to childhood. I am 9 or 10 years old; the TV room is dark and my older siblings are trying to spook me. I expect the frisson and to hear his ghostly British voice, "Goood Eeeevning."

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Source of endless can't-miss creepy moments and fretful bedtimes. Brilliant series; but I knew only the introductory music to the popular show. Tonight Radio Classique plays the entire piece.

Apparently in France this tune -- immediately recognizable to a generation of Americans as the famous Hitchcock theme song -- is merely known here as "La Marche funèbre d'une marionette" by Charles Gounod. No references made or connotations alluded to popular culture. Just a famous 19th century French composer.

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